×

Film Review: ‘A Rising Tide’

Ben Hickernell’s modest but engaging feature is a good bet for fests on the hunt for upbeat, inspirational fare.

With:
Hunter Parrish, Ashley Hinshaw, Jonathan Togo, Victor Slezak, Nana Visitor, Tim Daly, Judy Marte, Laith Nakli, Caroline Gottleib, Owen Drake, Emily Vere Nicoll.

Official Site: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3302078/

“A Rising Tide” is a likable drama that finds a clan of restaurateurs in hot water after Hurricane Sandy badly damages their business. While there’s a formulaic feel to some of it, the formula does work in this modest but engaging feature from writer-director Ben Hickernell (“Lebanon, Pa.”), aided by the conviction that the solid cast brings to the material. Result is a good bet for fests on the hunt for upbeat, inspirational fare, with theatrical prospects likely to skew regional. Home-format sales should be somewhat broader.

Sam (Hunter Parrish, “Weeds”) is rather reluctantly employed at his family’s longtime Atlantic City eatery, where his innovative ideas clash with the traditionalist leanings of his father, Alek (Victor Slezak), who insists they stick with the East Coast “comfort food” that sells. Still, Sam has little choice in the matter, having tried and failed to sustain his own nouveau-cuisine joint in hyper-expensive Manhattan. Blase about weather warnings that ultimately always seem exaggerated, he pays little heed to the reports that “Frankenstorm” Sandy is a serious threat. Ergo, he and various friends are busy partying when the waters rise to breach the sandbags, flooding the restaurant.

Alek blames his son’s carelessness for the extent of the damage, and while the business does reopen, it eventually becomes clear that the financial toll of the repairs has been catastrophic. Meanwhile, Sam finds a potentially powerful ally in wealthy, widowed venture capitalist Tom (Tim Daly), and a nemesis in sleazily ambitious loan officer Roger (Jonathan Togo), whose unhappy wife, Sarah (Ashley Hinshaw), he befriends.

Popular on Variety

The latter romantic development is “A Rising Tide’s” most routine aspect, and one that increasingly takes centerstage. More compelling are Sam’s struggles to save the family business, not to mention the foodie-porn element of the delicious-looking dishes on which d.p. Jimmy Lee Phelan lavishes attention. (Peter Almonte is the credited food stylist.) Tech and design contributions are solid.

Film Review: 'A Rising Tide'

Reviewed online, San Francisco, June 5, 2015. (In Seattle Film Festival.) Running time: 98 MIN.

Production: A Reconstruction Pictures and Fair Weather Pictures presentation in association with Hardball Entertainment and Cristile Entertainment. Produced by Kristin Fairweather, Daryl Freimark, Ben Hickernell. Executive producers, J. Andrew Greenblatt, Forrest Crisman Jr., Pete Kasko.

Crew: Directed, written by Ben Hickernell. Camera (color, widescreen, HD), Jimmy Lee Phelan; editor, Garrett Tezanos; music, Ronen Landa; music supervisor, Meredith O’Leary; production designer, Gino Fortebuono; costume designer, Angeline Zeigler; art director, Laura Christiann Smith; sound mixer, Johnpaul Golaski; re-recording mixer, Kyle Miller; supervising sound editor, Chris Chae; 1st assistant director, Ted Schaefer; casting, Rebecca Gushin.

With: Hunter Parrish, Ashley Hinshaw, Jonathan Togo, Victor Slezak, Nana Visitor, Tim Daly, Judy Marte, Laith Nakli, Caroline Gottleib, Owen Drake, Emily Vere Nicoll.

More Film

  • Will Smith and Martin Lawrence star

    Box Office: 'Bad Boys for Life' Soaring to $70 Million Opening

    “Bad Boys for Life” is tracking for a solid launch with as much as $70 million at 3,740 venues in North America over the four-day holiday weekend, early estimates showed Friday. Universal’s opening of its fantasy-adventure “Dolittle” should wind up in second with about $30 million. That’s somewhat above studio expectations for the Robert Downey [...]

  • Olivia Colman Phoebe Waller Bridge Brad

    SAG Awards Predictions 2020: 'Parasite,' 'Fleabag' and Other Top Contenders

    No matter who wins at the Screen Actors Guild Awards on Sunday, it will be a surprise. That’s because there aren’t many obvious frontrunners in either the TV or film categories at this year’s competition. Around 160,000 members from across the country vote for the SAG Awards, and with such a large voting body, members [...]

  • This is Us

    Los Angeles On-Location Production Slides 5% in Fourth Quarter

    Overall on-location filming in Los Angeles dropped 5% from October through December, according to a report released by permitting agency FilmLA on Friday. Officials said the decline in overall shoot days to 9,839 was due partly to record activity levels in 2018, which generated the highest level of local production activity of any quarter in [...]

  • Charlize Theron Jay Roach Bombshell BTS

    How Charlize Theron Helped Save Her 'Bombshell' Production

    Exactly two weeks before “Bombshell” was set to begin shooting, Annapurna backed out of the $35 million production. Producer Charlize Theron, who also stars in the film, was on a location scout with production department heads when she heard the bad news. “We had [cast] Nicole Kidman and Margot Robbie — two of the busiest [...]

  • Wasp Network

    Netflix Scoops Olivier Assayas's 'Wasp Network' With Penelope Cruz, Edgar Ramirez (EXCLUSIVE)

    Netflix has acquired U.S. rights and several other territories for Olivier Assayas’ “Wasp Network,” the Cuban spy thriller headlined by Penelope Cruz and Edgar Ramirez which world premiered at Venice last year, Variety has learned. The streaming giant is believed to have bought international rights to the film outside of China, Eastern Europe, Greece, Portugal, [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content